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6-Regulation: Philippinian parlamentarian files GE food labelling law

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TITLE:  Taņada files bill that will label GMO in food
SOURCE: The Philippine Post, by Dennis A. Maliwanag
DATE:   August 15, 2000

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Taņada files bill that will label GMO in food

Christians may not at all be bothered eating food with spliced genes 
from pigs. But that's enough reason for the Muslims to declare yet 
another war. A bill has been filed by Rep. Wigberto Taņada (LP, 
Quezon) requiring the mandatory labeling of food and food products 
containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) as well as food 
produced by genetic engineering technology.

"Besides considerations for risks to human health, all civilizations 
respect the very basic right of individuals to religious belief," 
said Taņada. "Unlabelled genetically-engineered food and food 
products will violate this right," Taņada said in his statement. He 
added that Muslims "have the right to know if the food they are 
eating have been spliced with genes from pigs," said Taņada.

House Bill No. 11977 will require domestically-sold food products to 
have this warning: "Government notice: This product contains a 
genetically-engineered material, or was produced with a genetically 
engineered material." Labeling of GMO food is mandatory in many parts 
of Europe and consumer groups in the United States are pushing for 
their government to do the same.

"This bill, however, does not deign to judge the merits of the issue 
of benefits or risks of genetically-engineered foods," Taņada said. 
"Rather, the purpose of this bill is to ensure that all consumers of 
food and food products are made aware of the contents of what they 
are buying and eating."

He said there is an ongoing debate worldwide on the safety of 
genetically modified organisms or GMOs, their impact on the health of 
the individuals and on the environment. "While this issue is being 
debated, we cannot afford denying Filipino consumers the right to 
know whether or not the food and food products they buy and consume 
contain GMOs," said the former senator.

Results of experiments in the West cast serious doubts over the 
safety of transgenic foods for humans Taņada said the bill is "in 
line with the constitutionally vested right of our citizens to 
information on matters of public concern, the constitutional mandate 
for the State to protect and promote the right to health of the 
people and instill health consciousness among them."



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